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Make a Splash

Pacific Whale Foundation offers summer fun for all ages.

July 29, 2010
Sarah Ruppenthal

“We make sure they have fun,” said PWF Executive Director Tracy Jones, “that’s what makes learning effortless.”

Since 1996, the organization has welcomed thousands of youth from across the State of Hawai‘i, the Mainland and several foreign countries to cultivate a passion for the marine environment. And in the wake of the recent catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico, it is more important than ever for youth to gain an appreciation and respect for our ocean environment.

Summer Ocean Discovery Camp classes are offered daily during summer and winter breaks, from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. The camp schedule is packed with a series of dynamic field trips and “hands-on and minds-on” activities that redefine the sentiment, “No child left indoors.”

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The whales may be on “summer break,” but the Pacific Whale Foundation offers residents and visitors alike a number of opportunities to explore our environment—from the land to the sea. Contact the Pacific Whale Foundation at 249-8811 or visit

“We are very proud of our summer camp programs,” said PWF Education Director Merrill Kaufman, “Kids tell us that our camp programs are the most fun part of summer, and parents love that their kids learn so much about the ocean, science, and conservation.”

The Ocean Discovery Camp is open to children entering or enrolled in grades K–5. Supervised by an enthusiastic staff of ocean naturalists, campers will get their feet wet—literally—each week, by engaging in a wide array of activities, from windsurfing and snorkeling to examining squid dissections under a microscope. “Every day, we are putting children in the ocean and teaching them to swim safely,” said Jones. “Not to mention, they are learning early stewardship of this very precious resource.”

For students entering or enrolled in grades 6–8, Pacific Whale Foundation offers its Outdoor Adventure Naturalist Camp from 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. daily. This camp provides middle school students with opportunities “to combine outdoor recreation with environmental service projects.” Daily activities will take these budding naturalists to different locations across the Valley Isle, where they work alongside local environmental service partners and learn about the environmental and cultural challenges facing our island home.

And for residents and visitors of all ages, PWF offers a number of opportunities to explore Maui’s marine environment. If you think the organization goes into hiatus when the whales depart for their seasonal trek to the chilly waters of Alaska, well, you are mistaken.

“Summer is not our off-season,” said Jones. “It’s another season.” From private charter excursions and sunset cruises to intriguing presentations and wild dolphin watches (sightings are guaranteed) off the coast of Lāna‘i, the Pacific Whale Foundation is bustling with activity this summer. “There is so much to see,” said Jones. “Dolphins, turtles and eels… and so much more.”

Pacific Whale Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting appreciation, understanding and protection of whales, dolphins, coral reefs and ocean waters. The organization accomplished this by educating the public—from a scientific perspective—about the marine environment, as well as supporting and conducting responsible marine research and addressing marine conservation issues throughout the Pacific.



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